Happy Friday! You've made through another week! So excited for everyone to get a break and have a great Labor Day Weekend! I expect to see lots of fun gatherings on Instagram and all of my social media outlets! Share away, my friends!

Speaking of Instagram, today I have taken over the Prayerful Bloggers Instagram account! I know, right? Who in their right mind would let me take over?!?! Just kidding, I'm a great host! So please go over and follow their account to see what a day in the life of moi really is.... I'm not holding back, you're getting unfiltered me today!

As always, I link up with the talented Aimee from This Darling Day for her Finding Beauty Friday link up!
This is where you can show off your photography skills, or just a random snap shot and get major love back! Anything you find beautiful, post it! Link up with us and gain a couple of friends in the process!


This Darling Day

Today, I want to share a photo that I took last weekend. We went to the Field Museum, and it was hot and muggy. But walking up to this gorgeous museum, the fog had rolled in and half of the Chicago skyline had disappeared! It was beautiful and a bit creepy at the same time!



Beautiful but a little eerie, right?

I hope everyone has an amazing holiday weekend! Stay safe out there!

Tell me your holiday plans! Comment below! 
Find Beauty Friday, The One Where Buildings Disappear

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In honor of our anniversary this week, I felt all mushy and romantic, and wanted to create a couple of screen savers. Of course, I had to share them with you guys! Pin them like mad, folks, they're that good!

On a side note, I may start a monthly Sharing Scripture link up! I know you guys are jazzy with your photo shopping, hand lettering, typography, I see the proof of your skills on Instagram! What do you think, "Sharing Scripture" on a monthly bases work for you? Say the first link up Sept. 28th?  Or should this be a weekly thing? Let me know in the comments and we will get this bad boy up and rolling, sharing scripture to the world!







Simple Moments Stick




Sharing Scripture, The wedding one

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Let's get down to my Weekly Wishes post before I forget it, (like I did yesterday!) And check out last week's instagram photos between items!

OK, last week's wishes were:

1. Finish putting together Birthday Giveaway Extravaganza and email blogger pals the codes.Done and done! I will announce winners TOMORROW, so check back to see if you've won! I'm so excited to see these goodies fly out of the door! 



2. Catch up on emails! I may be the worst at this. And I promise I will email everyone back soon! Yeah buddy! Done! I may have skipped a few by accident, this always tends to happen. SO if you're waiting on my email for a link up or something, PLEASE email me again. I promise I'm not ignoring you, it may have been deleted by accident or sent to the spam folder! 

3. Finish all orders, photo, list, and promote on the Etsy Store. Haven't finished this one, I'm working on it, but just haven't made a huge dent in my "To Sew" pile. 



4. Organize kitchen with my snazzy new organizational bins from Costco. You know those clear ones you can put in pantry or frig? YEAH buddy! I bought a box of them and it's ridiculous how excited I am about using them to clean up around the kitchen. Big fat check mark on this one! I am finding too many places where I could use these. I may have to pick up more! My only gripe is, they don't make the can container large enough for the Mr.'s energy drinks.




5. Clean out front closet. It's a train wreck in there. I have to put a bookshelf to hold all of the crap that is just piled on the floor! We did it! You don't even know how bad that closet was! Our kitchen is tiny, so the bigger things like the crock pot and George Foreman grill as well as large stock pots were being stored in this closet. Confession: I haven't even been able to close the door properly for the last 2 weeks because there was an avalanche of crap falling and I just didn't want to deal with it! Thankfully, I cleared some of my craft items off of one shelf, and the Mr. was able to help me put the shelf in the closet. Everything is so nice now! 



6. Start class at LCU! Eeppp! Haven't started this yet. Hopefully Wednesday I will have a couple of hours free to start the first lesson. My days don't have enough hours in them! Do you have this problem also?

Other than doing a lot of celebrating, those are my Weekly Wishes. If you want to join in, simply click the box below and join in with us! It's a great way to meet other bloggers!


The Nectar Collective



For this week, I'm not going to add anymore to my list. I feel like if I keep this pace, I'll burn out in 2 weeks, tops. And that's no bueno! So, I'll stick with this. Sounds like a plan to me!

What are some of your wishes you want to complete this week? Comment below!

Weekly Wishes, The one with the closet avalanche

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Say Whaaaaa???? Two (2) posts in one day?!?!?! I may have lost the remaining few marbles I had left! I totally messed up my planner, and thought that the Grace Upon Grace linkup hosted by the adorable Jordyn was NEXT week, AH! I've corrected it in my beloved planner, and now to correct it on here!

Y'all, I adore this link up! Check out what Jordyn has to say about it, from her blog She Who Fears, " I may be biased but Grace Upon Grace is my fave linkup out of all of the linkups in the land, and since it's that time again, I am really just excited about today. If you haven't been here before, Grace Upon Grace is a linkup that takes place every other Monday where us bloggers come together and share the ways that God is doing big things in our lives. The small community of grateful women that it has created encourages me every single day and I would love for you to be a part this week!" 



She Who Fears || Grace Upon Grace

So, here we go:

+ One:  I have been feeling the love from everyone this past week! I love that God puts just the right people in my life to give me the perfect sense of community! I just wish we all lived closer so we could actually sit and visit instead of burning up Facetime! 
+Two:  Can I just brag on my Mr. for a minute? This man is the polar opposite of me, but he's so perfect for me. After failed relationships previously, I was certain I was meant to live alone. But God stepped in and said, "Not so fast, this is your guy," and he was right! Loving the Mr. is as easy as breathing, and, in no way, do I feel worthy of a love like that from my Mr. or from my Savior. This girl right here is blessed beyond words.
+Three:  I just finished the book Not a Fan, MAN! That book rocked my world! I no longer want to just be a fan of Jesus but a follower. I thought I was doing my duty, but this book really broke it all down and shook me to the core. Thank you, Jesus, for putting that book in my path.
+Four:  I might be stretching the grace factor here, but I am so thankful for no smear highlighters! I know, it's not a big wow moment, but I finally found highlighters that don't smear OR bleed through! My bible study is going to benefit from this SO much! Y'all just don't even know! 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this link up! You guys need to slap down 4 points that God is showing grace to you and link up ASAP! Jordyn keeps this link open for 7 days, so you have 6 more days to post & link up! You won't regret it!

What's some ways you are seeing God's grace in your life today? 
Grace Upon Grace, The one where I almost forgot!

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Happy Monday! I'm so excited to share something else with you today. This month is just like a tilt-a-whirl for us with the annual fishing trip, my birthday, and our anniversary! We celebrate 2 years this week, and I couldn't be happier! I am truly blown away at God's perfect timing and perfect pairing with my Mr. Ah well, I could go on and on about him, but to save him some embarrassment, I decided to just share our wedding video with you guys. Unfortunately, the file was too big to put in here, so a few still shots will have to work. Please play the song as you scroll down!




And Happy Anniversary to my Mr.!






















Still on the Tilt-A-Whirl

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Y'all, the sweet Aimee from This Darling Day has graciously invited me to host the Finding Beauty Friday! I'm so thrilled to do this! And it's all on my own, this could be good or bad, so let's see how this bad mama jama turns out today!

Today, I want to share with you my Finding Beauty photo from our fishing trip last week. This one has made an appearance on my blog already, but it's sooo good! I almost want to get it blown up on a canvas and hang it over my mantle!



Now, on to choosing my favs from last week's Finding Beauty link-up. It's almost impossible and took hours for me to decide because they were all so great!

I loved the simplicity of Meg's photo. A hot air balloon ride is on my bucket list!



And the yellows and oranges in this photo from A Short Blonde are to die for!



This photo, it just takes my breath away! I would love to put my future home right smack dab in the middle of this amazingness! Thanks to Lauren from Little Alpenglow for sharing this treasure!



On behalf of Aimee, thank you again to everyone who participated! We are both looking forward to seeing what you share this week. Please only link to photos you have personally taken or have permission to use. Posts do not have to be from today to be linked and you can link as many recent posts as you like (within reason). We won’t check up and see if you’ve visited other blogs, but please play nice and do so!



Finding Beauty Friday, The one where I host!

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Please meet Elizabeth! She blogs over at Oak & Oats! Her blog is so inspiring, in many ways. I read it daily & just love her heart!  Check her out & don't forget to leave some love for her! ~Jessy






TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:

Hello! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Oak + Oats! I’m a twenty something who pretends to be a grown up. I love people, Jesus, adventures, dress up, creating,exploring, and being married to my best friend! Oak + Oats is a lifestyle blog about being rooted and nourished in Truth! Join me in my journey of living a simple, natural, and healthy life. If that wasn't enough, you can learn a bit more about me here!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA APP & WHY?

I love instagram. It is hands down my favorite social media. I love that you can create a folder of snapshots and memories. Filled with places you go, people you love, and things you do. Enough space for a caption but not enough space for too many crazy rants or buzzfeed articles. It is a pile of pictures that you can carry in your pocket – like those plastic inserts you can put into your wallet - but better!

I also love the community that can happen in instagram when we share pieces of our everyday and use our phones to create a mini blog - they do say a picture is worth 1000 words! A couple weekends ago, Megs & I introduced our instagram challenge and our hashtag #holdersnotfolders. The heart behind #holdersnotfolders is community.

WHAT IS HOLDERS NOT FOLDERS?

Holders Not Folders is a community that Megs of Rivers and Roads & I started of instagramers who grow, stretch, learn, live, share, experience, comfort, and love. The idea behind the name is that we HOLD onto each other and do not FOLD into ourselves. It is choosing community over isolation.

We want you to be a part of the community. Get involved in the current instagram challenges we have going on, find new instagramers and bloggers to follower, stretch & grow your phone photography, and reach out.

HOW CAN WE GET INVOLVED?

We would love for you to join the #holdersnotfolders community! You can start by following us on instagram (Megs of Rivers & Roads || Elizabeth of Oak + Oats ) and checking our blogs to see the current challenge! After that, it is all up to you! Get creative with your photography and look for beauty in the everyday! Use the hastag #holdersnotfolders and check out the rest of the community! Comment on pictures, say hello, and find new people to follow! 


Havvvvveee you met Elizabeth?

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Hey Y'all! I'm so excited today to be contributing on the Prayerful Blogger Blog! Please go check out my post there, where I talk about my struggle with compassion!



Prayerful Bloggers





And don't forget to enter to win my Birthday Giveaway Extravaganza! 
My struggle with compassion, on Prayerful Bloggers

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If you checked out the blog yesterday, you know that this is my birthday week! Eeepp! And, that it's also the official, un-official 1 year blog-versary! Yap! I officially made the blog sometime in April of 2013, but didn't really get into blogging regularly until August 2013, so I've decided what better way to celebrate both of these events than with a giveaway extravaganzaaaa! (yes, you should have read that like a circus announcer) ANDDDD.... I've decided to include a couple of my blogger pals!


This is a bloggers dream giveaway with lots of ad spaces and starbucks cards up for grabs as well as a couple gifts for the non-bloggers!

Here are the details:


  • There will be a total of 12 winners.!! Please follow the raffel copter directions. There will be verification to make sure you have played by the rules.
  • Winners will be announced Tuesday, 8/26/14 on this site, and on the raffel copters.
  •  I will choose 3 ladies for each prize, and contact them in order they were pulled. This is,in case someone wins an ad space and they are not a blogger, they will forfeit and I will contact the second runner up... make sense?  
  • I will contact you by email, you will have 48 hours to contact me back with your information. If I don't hear from you, your prize will go to the second runner up. So make sure to come back here to see if you've won, and check your spam inbox folders!
Now, let the extravaganza begin! And good luck to everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Birthday Giveaway Extravaganza!

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Good Monday morning! Aren't you so excited a fresh, brand spankin' new week has started? You should be because I have great news for you! This is the greatest week of the year! Let me tell you what's going on,
1. My birthday falls in this week.
2. My 2nd wedding anniversary is this week.
3. It's the official un-official 1st blog anniversary!

YEAH! This week I am on cloud 9 because of those events happening, but also because I received this in the mail on Saturday....


Yes! I've finally summed enough courage and stopped all of my doubts, and worrying if people will think I'm crazy, or think I'm wasting my time, and was accepted into Life Christian University! I'm so excited about this! More so because a lot of people confide in me about different things. I seem to be every one's sounding board, their "person" to go to and talk things over when life throws them a curve ball,  but I wanted to know more about the word so I can properly relate what I'm trying to tell them.  A writer and word master, I am not. I think in pictures, so it's hard for me to express myself in words. (You may have noticed this in my blog posts.)  I just felt like I needed a little backup in that department to really get my point across. So, yeah, that's going to be exciting!

ANYWAY, I wanted to celebrate with you, in a big way. So a couple of my blogger pals have graciously joined me in putting together this giveaway! We are going to start it tomorrow, and run it for a week. There is all sorts of goodies, and will be around 9 winners! HUGE news!

So that's what's going on this week! Let's get down to my weekly wishes for this week:

1. Finish putting together Birthday Giveaway Extravaganza and email blogger pals the codes.
2. Catch up on emails! I may be the worst at this. And I promise I will email everyone back soon!
3. Finish all orders, photo, list, and promote on the Etsy Store.
4. Organize kitchen with my snazzy new organizational bins from Costco. You know those clear ones you can put in pantry or frig? YEAH buddy! I bought a box of them and it's ridiculous how excited I am about using them to clean up around the kitchen.
5. Clean out front closet. It's a train wreck in there. I have to put a bookshelf to hold all of the crap that is just piled on the floor!
6. Start class at LCU! Eeppp!

Other than doing a lot of celebrating, those are my Weekly Wishes. If you want to join in, simply click the box below and join in with us! It's a great way to meet other bloggers!


The Nectar Collective



I hope you're having a fantastic Monday! What did you do over the weekend? Comment below!







Weekly Wishes, The One With All That Jazz

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Disclaimer, we did not see any peacocks, nor was any part of this hike "flat."  I have no idea why it's named this, but it was one of our favorite hikes on Oahu.  One of these days, I will round up all pictures of this hike and post them together. Until then, this one always made me chuckle a bit... we were such rebels!





Every Friday, I link up with the talented Aimee from This Darling Day for Finding Beauty Friday! You guys should link up any photo you think is beautiful and join us!



This Darling Day

Who has big weekend plans? I would love to hear about them! Comment below! 
Find Beauty Friday, The one with the Peacock Flats

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Continuing our Europe Trip from 2013, 
Check out the previous adventures below: 

The previous night, we arrived in Venice from Bratislava and Ljubljana! We had a walking tour and came back to our Hotel Centrale. We were pretty revved up about finally being in Italy, and a group of us from the tour went downstairs to this little side bar the hotel had, and had a couple of drinks! At this point, you are fairly certain of who your new friends are, and are just having fun experiencing all of the locations and getting to know the other members of the group!









After our walking tour of Venice, we headed to the hotel to rest. The next morning, we wake up bright and early in "the new downtown" of Venice! We quickly had our breakfast and headed out to downtown. This is what Expat had to say about the free day in Venice, "The day is yours to explore! The best way to discover Venice is just to get lost in the streets, piazzas and alleyways of the city. Don’t worry, it is easy to find your way back. The day time brings with it opportunity to experience the
 artistic side of Venice. Handmade Venetian masks adorn the windows of the local gift shops, along with lace and stunning glass creations - Want to see how they make them? Head to the islands of Murano and Burano for demonstrations of how these traditional art forms are still made today. St Marks Square is incredible during the day, and a water tour of the Grand Canal is a must do - especially for those wanting those classic Venetian photos! If it is a warm day, why not head for a dip with the locals at the ever popular, Lido Beach? Venice is also well known for wining and dining. There are hundreds of little cafes alongside the canals, offering a unique view of the waterways and a variety of food and wine options. (The pizza is particularly good here!) So if you prefer to sit back and watch the world go by, then Venice is the perfect place for you. Once the sun starts to sink, the piazzas fill with hundreds of people, looking to relax at the end of their day. Live music guides you through the streets and over the canals, and if you didn't try it last night, a gondola ride is surely to be next on tonight’s agenda. Enjoy!"

Venice did not disappoint! We had so much fun winding around all of the alleys and even took the water taxi to the end of the line just to see everything from the water! We also tried to get a gondola ride, but for 4 people they wanted somewhere around $80 per person! That was insane! Especially when they tell you not to touch the water because the sewers lead to it and it's so polluted! Plus, there are speed boats and big water taxis in the water. Now, you are in a gondola, powered by a man, and about 5 inches from the lip of the gondola to that gross water. What if a wake from a boat was just a little too much? I didn't care to grow a third arm, so we said no thanks and walked away!  And, all I could think about was one of my favorite go to movies, The Italian Job! 



It was Carnival while we were visiting, so everywhere there were people dressed up in their Carnival get ups! Some even stopped so we could take pictures! 


We did all of the sites there, St. Marco's square was more beautiful at night than during the day. There were your usual peddlers of blinking toys that seemed to swarm you in 5 second intervals. But it was still one of the greatest things you will ever see. The main draw besides just the greatness of the square, is Saint Mark's Basilica. It was overwhelming how beautiful and majestic this cathedral was! There was an extra charge to visit the treasure room, I forget what they actually call it. Save yourself a few dollars and look at the pictures online.




Now, let's get into every one's dream, the authentic Italian food. We were so excited to try this. In the first day or so of the tour, our tour leader had everyone get in the front of the bus, on the PA system, and introduce themselves. He also had everyone say what they were most excited for. Mine was, of course, Italy and eating as much Italian food as possible. So, on the first free day in Italy, we searched Venice for somewhere that looked good to eat! The closer to all of the action in Venice, the higher the prices. We assumed all places would be good, so on our walk back out of the downtown area, we found this little cafe. Now get this, owned by a Chinese family! The dad was outside soliciting customers, and we fell for it. I'm going to stop here and say, out of all of the places we visited in Italy, this was the best spaghetti we had. All Italian food we consumed needed seasoning! I hate to burst your bubbles, but it was all bland! I wish, so much, that I would've brought little packets of seasoning with me on this trip! 




After our day out and about, I believe we just came back to the hotel, maybe grabbed snacks, and hung out at the bar again swapping stories with our new friends.  It was off to bed semi-early as we were leaving the next morning for ROMA! 

Expat Explore Ultimate Europe Trip


European Tour, Day 8 & 9, From Ljubljana to Venice

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